Fast food giant seeks to beef up farming practices

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

McDonald's aims to develop practices to help farmers meet sustainable beef farming principles
McDonald's aims to develop practices to help farmers meet sustainable beef farming principles

Related tags: Agriculture

McDonald’s has stressed its commitment to sustainable beef supply standards and practices a year after the horsemeat affair began, claiming it aims to strengthen industry farming practices.

The fast food giant had not been implicated in the scandal because of its supply chain practices, said Keith Kenny, senior director, supply chain, McDonald’s Europe. “Beef is the most iconic item on our menu.

“Our core beef sandwich patties are made from 100% high quality beef, which is sourced from EU approved abattoirs that must also comply with the additional quality, safety and welfare standards required by McDonald’s.”

Kenny said the firm had implemented controls and practices throughout its supply chain, such as detailed product and raw material specifications and full traceability via its Supplier Quality Management System. It had also worked hard to cultivate long term supplier relationships, he said.

Go further

However, the company wanted to go further, he said. “There has been no widely agreed definition of what sustainable beef looks like. However, through the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform, the industry has come together to establish Principles for Sustainable Beef Farming that we can all support.

“The next step is to develop farming practices to help farmers meet those principles and to continue aligning our work with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

“We will also continue to leverage our position within the wider beef industry to help drive our common journey to sustainability, developing an assured, trusted and sustainable beef supply chain for McDonald’s and for our customers.”

Simple supply chain

Speaking at an Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee meeting on January 8 referring to his continuing review on the integrity and assurance of food supply networks, professor Chris Elliott told: “McDonald’s invited us to look at farms and abattoirs – it was a very simple supply chain.

“The other thing I was very impressed about was the length of contract McDonald’s had with its suppliers.”

He said he had come across a number of companies with beef supply contracts that had lasted just 16 weeks, whereas in many cases McDonald’s had contracts with suppliers that lasted for years.

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